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Nono from Los Angeles asked

What are some nice places for Designers to visit in Chicago?

Designer from SF

Visiting Chicago for the first time
Interested in:

  • Architecture
  • Coffee shops
  • Spaces
  • Small Museums/Gallery
  • Hidden Corners
  • Lost Places
  • Intimate neighborhoods


5 Answers
answered by
Dabs from Chicago


Chicago Cultural Center is a must, it's the former Chicago Public Library, be sure to go up to the 2nd floor to see the Tiffany dome and beautiful mosaic work.  There's a 2nd dome that is Healy-Millet, not Tiffany, but still worth a look

Marquette Building you should be able to wander in during business hours

Rookery Building  Burnahm & Root with a little Frank Lloyd Wright thrown in

State Street has a Tiffany mosaic ceiling, go to the Clinique counter and look up

Tribune Tower, walk around the outside, all of the rocks and parts of buildings embedded into the facade

Pop into some of the hotels to see the lobbies, The Palmer House, InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Hotel Burnham Chicago, Hard Rock Hotel, Chicago Athletic Association, Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown/N Loop/Michigan Ave are all historic buildings that have been turned into hotels.  Virgin Hotels Chicago has a lovely rooftop

If you are fashion designers, you might enjoy a visit to the The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, a Downton Abbey fashion exhibit is slated for very soon

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answered by
Crystal from Anchorage

There have been some great answers so far! I couldn't resist answering though as a true Chicagophile and part time resident for the past 10 years. I love Chicago! I'll divide it into your catagories and try not to make a long novel about it. I can say one thing, if you love design, you will love Chicago.


Museum Campus: The outside (and inside) of the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium are awesome. I particularly like the planetarium made of pink granite in beautiful art deco 1930s style. Plus the view of the sky line from there is THE BEST.

Chicago Cultural Center: It's in a repurposed old library and one of my favorite places. It is free to go in and there are always free or cheap exhibits and events. Make sure to check out the two huge Tiffany glass domes, the largest in the world.

The Downtown Parks: Grant Park/Millenium Park/Maggie Daley Park. Grant Park was designed in a classic French style, Millenium in a blend of ultra modern and classical, and Maggie Daley (the newest) with a mind for interactive features.

The Chicago River/Lake Michigan: If it's the summertime take one of the architectural cruises. If you don't want to pay for that, consider the much cheaper water taxi which run regularly around the river and lake to the Museum Campus, Navy Pier, and Chinatown. Don't forget to stroll the river walk.

Willis Tower or Hancock Building: Go the top for a great view!

Chicago Architecture Foundation: They have a small free exhibit with a 3-D printed model of the city. They also offer lots of walking tours.

Spaces/Hidden Corners/Lost Spaces:

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool: In Lincoln Park this little hideaway was designed by a student of Frank Llyod Wright.

Garfield Park Conservatory: Two words- hidden gem. It's free and huge. Good in the winter too. Built in the 1870s.

Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library: Good architecture outside this huge library. The real gem hear is the Winter Gardens on the top floor. There is usually a free exhibit there and it's just a somewhat weird and quiet place that's hard to describe. Nobody seems to know it exists.


The Art Institute of ChicagoThe Art Institute of Chicago Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art are not small by any means, but are great and worth visiting.

Flatiron Arts Building


Old Town: Yes old, and super charming!

Wicker Park: A bit hipster, a bit yuppy. A good place for boutiques, galleries, and little cafes.

Andersonville: Originally home to Swedish immigrants, it's now a melting pot!

Ok, well I could go on forever, but I hope this helps!

Happy travels!

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chicago (city)
  2. Museum Campus (attraction)
  3. Chicago Cultural Center (attraction)
  4. Grant Park (attraction)
  5. Millenium Park (attraction)
  6. Maggie Daley Park (attraction)
  7. Willis Tower (attraction)
  8. Hancock Building (attraction)
  9. Chicago Architecture Foundation (attraction)
  10. Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (attraction)
  11. Garfield Park Conservatory (attraction)
  12. Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library (attraction)
  13. The Art Institute of Chicago (attraction)
  14. The Art Institute of Chicago Museum (attraction)
  15. Museum of Contemporary Art (attraction)
  16. Flatiron Arts Building (attraction)
  17. Old Town (attraction)
  18. Wicker Park (neighborhood)
  19. Andersonville (neighborhood)
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answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

Old Town

Newberry Library

Chicago Architecture FoundationArchitecture Museum 

Walk down LaSalle Street or South Clark Street

Drive down Lake Shore Park to Sheridan Road. Drive as far as you can on Sheridan and back

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Old Town (attraction)
  2. Newberry Library (attraction)
  3. Chicago Architecture Foundation (attraction)
  4. LaSalle Street (attraction)
  5. South Clark Street (attraction)
  6. Lake Shore Park (attraction)
  7. Sheridan Road (attraction)
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answered first by
Vince from Sarasota

The first place to visit in Chicago for designers is Merchandise Mart (Brown/Purple) on 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza. There are over 30 showrooms for luxury kitchens and bath. Some showrooms are accessible to the general public and some to designers only (So bring yur designer's credentials with you). Check and find the schedule of shows and events at the Mart to see what they offer while you are there.

For persons interested in architecture: Take an architecture cruise on the Chicago River at the corner of Michigan and Wacker. There are also architecture walks. Check with Wandella Sightseeing Boats.

Go visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, Il. They have daily interior tours and while there see also the Unity Temple, Oak Park,IL. In the south of Chicago, there is also the Robin House at the The University of Chicago in Hyde Park.

In downtown Chicago a must is also the Rookery Building. Go on top (on the 96 Fl.) of the Hancock skyscraper and/or the observation deck of the Willis Tower  (used to be the Sears Tower) for magnificent views.

Check the Chicago Cultural Center in the corner of Michigan Ave. and Randolph. They will provide all kinds of maps, brochures and info, but also while there visit that building.

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answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

Eat at Wishbone North and walk down Wells St. Take pictures of all the wrought iron fencing and doorways.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Wishbone North (restaurant)

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